Lose the keys

Story by Steve Fruehauf, Copy Editor

The summer before my freshman year at UW-Eau Claire, I remember how badly I wanted to bring my car to school. How else would I get around Eau Claire, a city with a population over 60,000?

I know I thought very highly of the idea but the real problem was convincing my parents to go along with it. The car was in their name and, thus, they had the final say. I mulled over the thought of how to successfully pitch my plan to them for about a week before taking the plunge.

Unfortunately, as I had somewhat expected, the conversation didn’t go as I had planned and I was destined to forever be a walker in this decently-sized city.

Two years later, I couldn’t be happier with my parents’ decision. You see, I hadn’t toured the campus prior to my first day living here. What was I thinking? Who doesn’t look at the school they are going to before accepting? I had no idea that the campus was so condensed.

There’s really no need for a car unless you are commuting from home to school. People living in the dorms have the cafeteria on one side, dorms on the other, and classes just down the hill from them.

Even living off-campus this year, I find it much easier to bike around rather than spending time looking for a tightly spaced parking spot to squeeze into. It also means I have a few more minutes to sleep in, which college students understand is a big deal.

I only live a couple blocks off- campus so a car would be a waste of gas anyway. My search was for more freedom than the dorms offered but not so much that I lost the school’s overall feel. I have just the right fit where I am.

The real dilemma was finding a job close to campus. Once the school year started, I thought it would be a good idea to make a few bucks on the side for groceries. Somewhere on campus or on Water Street I thought would be the most convenient. I searched the job board for a few weeks, sent out a few emails, and scored a job in the new Davies Center.

As for grocery shopping, I have Gordy’s I can walk or bike to just off of upper campus. If I’m too lazy to make the trek up the hill, I could just hop on the bus, which is free to students, and go to Wal-Mart, which has plenty of food for sale.

I think the biggest positive of biking or walking rather than driving is the amount of money I will save. Putting $20 or $40 in the tank may not seem like much to some but that’s cash well saved to me. That’s a week or two of groceries I don’t have to take out of the bank.

Another plus is that biking and walking are eco-friendly. With all of the construction on campus and dirt going everywhere, I feel good knowing I’m not contributing to the
madness.